Archive for June, 2012
June 29, 2012
Given that our main office is in South Florida, we are more aware of the elderly communities in our area than we would be if we were based in various other parts of the country. As personal injury attorneys, we take our job seriously. We see personal injury law as a means by which to defend the innocent and help those who would be otherwise unable to help themselves. We would also be hard-pressed to find people more innocent and helpless than elderly folks who often times fall victim to the malicious and negligent treatment of those paid to take care of the elderly in nursing homes.
Nursing home abuse cases are a serious issue in general, but specifically in South Florida, where there is a disproportionately high concentration of elderly folks. According to a CBS News study in 2009, nursing home abuse cases are on the rise. Thousands of nursing homes across the country have been cited for abuse cases and the abuse can come in a variety of forms. The abuses may include, but are not limited to:
1. Violent, physical abuse of a nursing home patient
2. Sexual abuse of a nursing home resident
3. Verbal and psychological abuse of a nursing home resident
4. Financial abuse of a nursing home resident
Families put their elderly relatives into nursing homes so that they can be nursed in their old age. The families—and the residents in question—expect that the nursing staff will treat them with the utmost respect and care given their fragile state (and the nursing staff’s state of employment). Sometimes, however, the nursing home turns into a house of horrors when the doors are shut and vigilant eyes are absent. The residents are often times so affected by their medications that they don’t know what is happening—sometimes abuse is only discovered by family members noticing bruises and cut marks on their family members or drained bank accounts.
Nursing home abuse cannot be tolerated. There is something that you can do to take action against someone who has hurt your loved one. The law gives people rights and the ability to go after those who inflict undue harm. Millions of dollars have been awarded in personal injury lawsuits stemming from the atrocious abuses that take place in nursing homes. Whether the cases involve negligent supervision leading to a resident falling or the abusive, intentional, malicious punching of a resident by a nurse, the responsible parties are often made to answer for their crimes in a court of law.
If you suspect that someone you know has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email@example.com. The elderly deserve to live in tranquility, not fear and danger.
June 27, 2012
In the State of Florida, a “low-speed crash” is defined as one in which no vehicles involved travel over a speed of 10 mph and in which there are no pedestrians or bicycles involved. Low-speed crash claims are typically sneered at. People often scoff and think it’s preposterous to assume that somebody could have been injured in a car accident when their (or someone else’s) car was traveling a measly 9 mph (or less). The cynicism will probably continue on forever, but so will the facts. The State of Florida has detailed records of the danger, prevalence, and deadliness of these low-speed crashes.
There are many ways to think about the impact of low-speed crashes. Let’s start our exploration of low-speed crash statistics by picking a number. How about the number 67,602? Or how about the number 55,973? The first number was the number of documented low-speed crashes that took place in Florida in a given year. The second number was the number of documented injuries that were the result of those low-speed car crashes. These numbers are astounding. What’s even more shocking is that the true numbers of car crashes and injuries are actually higher than what’s on record! That’s because not everyone calls the police after what they think is a “small fender-bender.” Their lack of knowledge on the severity of these accidents is a result of the common misconception that if an accident happens at a low-speed, the resulting injuries will be minimal—or non-existent.
The fact is, over the past twenty years, hundreds of people have died because of low-speed car crashes, and hundreds of thousands more have been injured. There’s nothing inconsequential about human lives being lost, and while the rates of death and injury from these accidents have decreased significantly over the past 15 years, the fact that people still die in these crashes proves just how deadly they can be. In 2008, seven people were killed, and 3,373 were injured due to the 3,984 documented low-speed car crashes that took place in the state. That means that for every “measly” low-speed car crash, someone was injured.
When insurance companies turn their noses up at low-speed car crashes, they’re turning their eyes away from the facts. The statistics support the proven scientific claims that low-speed car crashes, because of inertia at work with the neck and head, can cause serious injuries—and even death. In the movies and on TV, the most damaging car crashes usually involve speeding Corvettes and fuel-packed 18-wheelers. The fact is, while real life is often much more mundane, the results of the typical car crash can be just as deadly.
Don’t be bullied by insurance agents who think they’re scientists. The facts, and the law, are on your side.
If you have been in a car accident of any velocity, please contact our experienced attorneys at 561-266-9191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 25, 2012
The terms “product recall” and “product liability” get tossed around a lot in today’s legal world, often in reference to a defective product and the damage that it can cause. The area of product liability and subsequent recall is not as black and white as it may seem - there is a large gray area filled with loopholes and different types of responsibilities. In this blog, we’d like to let you know about a major recall that has made headlines recently and then delve into some background info on product liability law.
Recently, a company that distributes a well-known coffeemaker sold with the Black & Decker label has announced a voluntary recall of the product. The recall was announced after 68 people reported that they had suffered burns and cuts due to the use of the product. In addition to the 68 injured, an additional 1,300 users of the coffeemaker have reported that the coffee pot handle has broken during use of the product. The recalling company, Applica Consumer Products, which is based in Florida, has been responsible for the distribution of the product that was sold nationwide from July of 2008 until just last month when the company decided that a recall was necessary. Applica Consumer Products has said that owners of the coffeemaker should stop using it immediately and that they will receive a free replacement.
The offer of a free replacement is fairly standard when it comes to product recalls. Products are recalled for a variety of reasons which typically fall under the umbrella of safety issues. Essentially, products are supposed to meet the common expectations of a customer. If a given product has an undisclosed defect or danger, the common expectation is not met, and thus the product is defective (and due for recall). In the coffeemaker recall, the distributor was responsible for the recall; however, a product liability issue can mean that a variety of parties might be responsible. Any participant along the line might be responsible. Responsible parties might include the manufacturer of parts, the product manufacturer that assembles the product, the wholesale distributor of the product and the retail store at which the product was sold.
Product defects generally fall into one or more of the following categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. A design defect is a mistake in the design of a product. Design defects are typically the easiest to prove because the designers’s models can be used to prove that the design was faulty and thus the subsequent manufacturing was faulty.
Manufacturing defects occur when the manufacturing of the product does not match the intended design of the product. A manufacturing defect might leave out a key safety feature included in the design of a product, thus rendering the product unsafe.
Finally, a marketing defect is what you call a mistake in the advertising of a product, where a product is shown to be safer than it truly is or when the advertisement fails to acknowledge certain safety hazards.
Product defects cause thousands of injuries every year in the United States. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a defective product, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email@example.com.
June 19, 2012
We’ve all seen the action movies where 18-wheelers flip over police cars in a high-speed chase and the result is a fireball on a bridge over a river infested with drug-trafficking criminals. Exhilarating as those scenes may be, they are not reflective of the typical car accident. As you might expect, the vast majority of car accidents don’t start with police chases or end in explosions. Thus, it might make sense to assume that with a less dramatic accident, the consequent injuries are less costly. The logic is, if you tap your hand against a table it won’t hurt, but if you slam it against the table it will hurt—a lot. That logic makes sense with hands and tables, but it doesn’t make sense with moving vehicles.
Don’t be ashamed if you believed the above scenario makes sense with car accidents—the insurance companies want you to believe it! They coined the term “low-impact accidents” to classify accidents accordingly. At one point, an accident was “low-impact” if the car damage was less than $50. Insurance companies have sneakily and steadily increased the cost associated with a low-impact accident (to, in some cases, $5,000) to imply that injuries involved in those accidents are not too severe.
While car insurance company executives may make great businessmen, they make lousy scientists. Studies conducted, again and again, show that there is not a definite correlation between low-impact accidents and a lack of serious injury. What that means is that low-impact accidents can result in costly injuries the same way that high-impact accidents can. Simply, the hand and table experiment does not account for such variables as whiplash, inertia, other vehicles, headrests, position of the head, etc. While cars are manufactured to survive low-speed impacts of 5-10 mph, the human body is not.
The most common injury among low-impact car accident victims is has to do with soft tissue in the neck and back. Soft tissue damage includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, and disks and leads to contusions, sprains, strains, and bruises. Whiplash is often a very common factor in low-impact car accident injuries. General Motors commissioned crash tests at 8mph or less and discovered that whiplash does occur during low-speed crashes. This is a fact that insurance companies have denied for years. The study determined that the consequent whiplash can be permanently damaging. The insurance companies also argue that in cars with headrests it’s impossible to get whiplash. While headrests can help prevent whiplash, unless it is adjusted perfectly to fit the occupant of the seat, it can actually be more damaging than it can be beneficial during the jostle of an accident.
If you’ve been in a low-speed accident, don’t be fooled by the insurance companies telling you that there’s no way you were hurt. Remember, they’re businessmen, not scientists and they’re certainly not doctors. If you feel you have been injured in an accident of any speed, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 18, 2012
For centuries—perhaps even millenniums—the dog has been lovingly referred to as “man’s best friend.” This is no misnomer—they’re loyal, happy, and protective. They’re a joy to wake up to in the morning and they’re elated to see you when you get home from work. However, as with all good things in life, there is with dogs a dark side that can surface from time to time. That “dark side” of dogs, the occasional lashing out or biting of another dog or human being, can cause considerable damage which the owner of the dog might be liable for.
Florida is known as a “strict liability” state. In the Florida Statutes, under Title XLV Torts, the second issue discussed is Damage By Dogs (Chapter 767). Clearly the issue is given a high priority given its prevalence in the Sunshine State. Florida Statutes dictate that dog owners are liable for any damage caused by their dogs to any person and to any animal that is classified as a “domestic” animal or a “livestock” animal (i.e., a pet or an animal on a farm). You will be held liable for damages regardless of the past viciousness of the dog. If the dog had been completely well behaved for its entire life, and out of nowhere it snaps and attacks someone, you are liable.
Of course, there are specifications of when, exactly, a person is liable for their dog’s behavior. A person is liable for their dog’s biting of another person if the victim is bitten in a public place or in a private place to which they had received an invitation (either direct or implied). For example, if you invite a friend to your house for dinner, and your dog bites your friend, you are liable for the damages. On the other hand, if you are being robbed, and your dog bites the unwelcome intruder, according to Florida law, you may not be liable for the damages.
There is another part of dog laws that might come as a surprise to you. As with other personal injury issues, the negligence of the victim is taken into account. For example, per the first example above, if your friend is found to have been half responsible for the dog biting him (perhaps he taunted the dog or kicked it) then you will not be fully liable for the damages.
There is another technicality which can protect you against being liable for damages caused by your dog. If your dog bites someone in your residence or on your private property, and the victim is six years old or older, and you have a clearly visible, posted sign that reads “Bad Dog,” you may not liable for the damages (assuming you were not otherwise negligent). And, according to a 1951 Florida lawsuit, Romfh v. Berman, the rule still applies if the sign reads “Beware of Dog” instead of “Bad Dog” (as is common in today’s society).
Owning a dog can bring great joy to a household. It is imperative, however, to understand the risks and liabilities associated with owning a dog in the state of Florida. If you have any questions about this issue or any other legal matter, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email@example.com.
June 14, 2012
In this blog post we’d like to make you aware of a significant award in a defamation suit as well as explore the issue of defamation in terms of civil and criminal consequence.
This past week, a couple in Texas was awarded nearly $14 million dollars by a jury in a lawsuit involving anonymous posters claiming—on the internet—that the couple was a pair of rapists, drug dealers, and sexual deviants. The baseless rumors got so atrocious that the couple eventually had to sell their salon business and leave town. The jury awarded the couple the $14 million in damages for loss of business, mental anguish, and—above all—loss of reputation.
The online nastiness began when an ex-client of the husband turned on the man and started anonymously posting falsehoods online. The horrible rumors led to an indictment against the couple and nearly 25,000 comments about the issue on the website Topix.com. The couple was eventually acquitted of the criminal charges (which were filed on groundless accusations) but the damage had already been done to their lives. A judge eventually issued a subpoena to Topix.com to disclose the IP addresses where the posts emanated from. Though the horrible posts were listed as having been posted under 178 different made-up names, they all were linked back to only two IP addresses that were used by the defendants.
So, what is defamation? Defamation can be understood as any purposeful, false communication (written or spoken) that harms a person’s reputation. “But what about freedom of speech?” some people ask. Well, the First Amendment does guarantee freedom of speech, and the freedom to speak anonymously, but it does not allow for complete freedom when anonymously engaging in defamatory practices. You can post a truth anonymously but to post a falsehood—especially when it damages someone else—is grounds for a lawsuit. Be aware, however, that in terms of defamation, there is a distinction between “private people” like you and me, and “public people” like Barack Obama or Cameron Diaz. Public people—celebrities—are considered more “fair game”, if you will, in terms of public ridicule.
In Chapter 836 of Florida Statute Title XLVI, the punishment for defamation—and libel—is that of a first-degree misdemeanor. Furthermore, the owner of any publication—newspaper, magazine, website—wherein a defamation is posted, is also guilty of defamation. This law is designed to heighten the importance of preventing defamation as it is damaging to our society.
Both criminal law and civil law is on the side of the victim—especially in this case. With the internet, there are millions of outlets of people to spread falsehoods. That said, innocent people should not stand by and watch others destroy their reputations with blatant falsehoods.
If you feel that you have experienced damages as a result of defamation, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 13, 2012
We hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend. While summer won’t officially begin until June 20th, Memorial Day is often seen as the unofficial start of summer, with many people taking Memorial Day weekend to open up their pools for a summer filled with family, friends and lots of fun.
There is no doubt that a pool can be a wonderful keystone of a community. From the exotic lands of Africa to the suburbs of South Florida, watering holes are a place where people (and animals!) come to gather and relax. With all of a pool’s benefits, the dangers associated with aquatic enjoyment are often overlooked. In this blog wed like to take a look at some of the risks involved with pools so that you can protect yourself and your family while making the summer of 2012 the best it can be.
Swimming pool accidents aren’t as rare as they might seem. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 3,500 people die each year due to drowning in pools. These deaths are primarily the result of people falling into the pool, driving or jumping the wrong way, or getting trapped in a pool drain because of an improper design. The costs of these accidents are much higher than most people might think. About 20% of the children who experience near-drowning accidents in pools suffer brain injures that are often permanent. A swimming pool accident can require treatment that might cost anywhere from $75,000 to $4,000,000, per person, depending on the incident.
People get injured in pools the same way they get injured in cars and the same way they get injured in grocery stores – because of negligence. In a perfect world, all pools would be 100% safe, all cars would drive at the proper speed with the proper acknowledgement of other cars, and all grocery stores would have dry floors that nobody could slip on. The fact is, this isn’t a perfect world, and just as with everything else in life, there is negligence associated with pools. The owner is often negligent by not maintaining a certain standard of up-keep, and the manufacturer might be negligent by not installing or manufacturing a drain properly. All of these mishaps make the owner—or company—liable for damages should somebody get hurt in their swimming pool.
There are a multitude of common issues that lead to pool accidents. Among these are a lack of a substantial pool fence, a lack of pool cover, keeping a ladder next to a pool even when it’s not being used, not maintaining a working drain, etc. When Casey Anthony argued that her daughter drowned in the family pool by climbing up the ladder that shouldn’t have been there, she was not making up a ridiculous scenario. Things like that happen all of the time, and the owner of the pool is often held responsible for the subsequent damages. As might be expected, the majority of pool accidents involve youngsters that aren’t qualified to swim or aren’t strong enough to save themselves.
Please be safe around pools—whether you own one or just use one. Negligence on either end can have deadly—and costly—consequences.
If you or anyone you know has been injured in a pool accident, contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email@example.com.
June 11, 2012
In this blog post we are going to warn you about a new possible legal ramification of texting your friend! Then we’re going to explore a little-known, but deadly, danger associated with taking calcium supplements. Remember, knowledge is power!
This month, the law may take a whole new turn in combating distracted driving. The case is in New Jersey, and it’s one of the most peculiar one’s we’ve come across in terms of distracted driving—which, of course, leads to a myriad of accidents. In September of 2009, a couple was riding their motorcycle when they were hit head-on by a Chevy truck. The couple on the motorcycle noticed that the driver, before the impact, was steering with his elbows and appeared to be text messaging on his cell phone. The driver of the car, an 18-year-old, pled guilty to using a hand-held device while operating a vehicle (among other charges).
Now, in a follow-up lawsuit, the couple hit by the Chevy is suing the driver—and the driver’s girlfriend. What’s so shocking is that the girlfriend they’re suing wasn’t even in the car at the time of the crash. The lawsuit claims, though, that she was “electronically present” because she was the one he was texting when he crashed. Because he was driving, and she was texting him, she may have known that he was driving and therefore her continued engagement in the text-conversation makes her liable, according to the lawsuit. The lawyers for the girlfriend, of course, are arguing that the motorcycle couple is taking a “leap of logic” that goes way too far in implicating that the girlfriend did any wrong. Whatever the outcome, it will surely shape the scope of distracted-driving laws and set a precedent for future cases of this kind, which are sure to arise as text messaging becomes more of a way of life.
Next, we move to Europe, for an interesting study on a seemingly beneficial supplement. A group of scientists at the University of Zurich recently completed an 11-year study which involved collecting data on 24,000 men and women between the ages of 35 and 64. The study revealed that people taking a calcium supplement are 86% more likely to have a heart attack than those who are not taking a calcium supplement. For those folks that only take a calcium supplement, the risk more than doubles. While the report could not identify a specific cause-and-effect relationship between the calcium supplements and the heart attacks, the scientists who wrote the report did issue a warning that calcium supplements should be taken with caution.
The authors of the study noted that the study brought to light that taking the calcium in one or two daily does is unnatural and therefore the metabolism responds in a different way than it would to a natural intake of calcium.
If anyone you know has experienced a heart attack from the calcium supplement—or has suffered at all from any other medicine, please contact one of our attorneys for advice.
If you have any questions about distracted driving—or any other legal matter, please reach out to us. Call the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.